Kalaway Bay Resort Ltd. has been named the second of three finalists in D-Link’s Extreme SMB Networking Makeover contest, which gives a small business $10,000 in networking tools to revamp its network.

Based in Oyama, B.C., Kalaway Bay Resort is a non-profit group housing 12 cabins over a space of four to five acres, a distance that makes it difficult for its guests to get a reliable connection to the Internet. About 100 to 200 guests pass through there every year, between May and October, and they often shorten the resort name to Kalabay Resort, says Daken Ariel, the volunteer IT coordinator for the resort.

In a digital age, it’s almost an expectation for guests to be able to access Wi-Fi, Ariel says, adding the resort would like to be able to implement a unified wireless solution, making the Internet more accessible for resort guests, no matter how far away their cabin is.

“One of the problems they have is wireless,” he says. “Maybe 10 or 15 years back, they would provide a little business PC for people who needed to check their email and what not, but that’s a bit antiquated. So eventually they went to wireless, but it’s just consumer wireless, and they put them into different locations, so of course, it’s not integrated … They set the same password for each one and they called each one the same thing, but it never really worked very well.”

(Image: Kalaway Bay Resort). Kalamalka Lake, near the resort.
(Image: Kalaway Bay Resort). Kalamalka Lake, near the resort.

If Kalabay were to win the D-Link ‘Extreme Makeover’ contest, the resort would be able to make use of D-Link’s integrated solution. These solutions typically feature multiple access points using a Power over Ethernet device, which can help cover blank spots and provide connectivity. Kalabay’s buildings are very spread out and have a lot of problems with this, so when Ariel heard about D-Link’s contest, he thought of entering the resort right away, he says.

The hope is to be able to add six access points, eight IP cameras, network-attached storage, and a D-Link firewall, he adds.

Ariel has been a guest of the resort for the past 26 years. His company, Coastway System Technology Ltd., coordinates a lot of the IT required to run the resort, along with other volunteers who are technically savvy. However, guests regularly complain about the wireless connectivity on the resort grounds, and Ariel himself has run into problems.

A couple of years ago, he was vacationing at the resort and trying to catch up on some work by coding a Web site. However, his connection was so poor, he ended up coding much of the Web site from his mobile phone.

“It was up and down, six, seven, eight times an hour,” he says. “It’s happening all the time, it’s a constant.”

(Image: Kalaway Bay resort). Guests boating near the resort.
(Image: Kalaway Bay resort). Guests boating near the resort.

However, improving guests’ experience is not the resort’s only goal. During the winter months, when the managers are in Vancouver, the resort has issues with vandalism. And a couple of years ago, a drunk driver came through the thorough-way near the resort and crashed into a hedge, Ariel says.

The plan is to install wireless IP surveillance cameras to keep better watch over the property, and to be able to record footage in case resort owners need to show it to police. That would require a network storage device for saving video files, as well as better firewall security to secure the network, he says.

Ultimately, winning D-Link’s contest would really improve the resort’s ability to serve its guests, Ariel says.

“A lot of the people have tablets and smartphones and laptops, so you can’t quite escape from work, even though you’re on holiday,” he says. “So wireless has become a very important feature for them, but they really need something like the D-Link integrated solution, where the access points are all tied together.”

The third and last finalist for D-Link’s Extreme SMB Networking Makeover contest will be selected Dec. 3. The winner of the $10,000 prize will be announced on Dec. 19.

The contest is still open to new entries. Click the link at the top to enter.

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